by Stephen Downes
Jul 16, 2015
The role of personality in education
The Ed Techie,
Martin Weller wrote this about a week ago and as of now it has 54 comments, suggesting he has struck a nerve. There has been "a long tradition of removing the personal from teaching material," he writes, but "then along come MOOCs, and they’re all about the personality." cMOOCS, in particular, ", have a very strong cult of personality driving them." Kate Bowles responds, "too much creative personality, too much popularity, introduces a kind of cultishness to learning that we really have been trying to move beyond." And she (interestingly) cites Pat Lockley in observing that "online students give instructors higher marks of they think instructors are men." Frances Bell argues, "For me, this focus on the personality of the leader/ inventor figure can hamper inventiveness and experimentation by freezing agency in a single personality." Who could imagine someone suggesting that Jim Groom's ds106 course resembles a cult!
Yikes! Turns Out Even Teachers Think Girls Are Bad At Math
When I was in grade 10 I took one of my drafting assignments, erased the grade, put someone else's name on it, and handed it in again. No, this was not in an effort to cheat (I also gave the teacher a sealed envelop describing the plan so this would be clear). I wanted to test his how his expectations changed how he graded the two of us. As I had feared, my suspicions were confirmed, and two quite different marks resulted. It's this sort of thing that makes me sceptical of a lot of 'evidence-based' research - a lot of time, what we 'see' depends on what we expect to see. This article is a summary of how the same phenomenon impacts the grades girls get on their math assignments. "In the study, teachers graded the math tests of 11-year-olds and, on average, the scores were lower for girls. But, when different teachers graded the same tests anonymously, the girls performed far better (out-performing the boys in many cases)." Via James Guzdial, who predicts that computing science teachers will have the same biases.
Carney Labs, LLC,
According to them, "MARi is the first technology platform to track your knowledge on where you want to go - in school, your career, and your life. MARi engages students in their future by giving them visibility and control of the path to get there... MARi helps an individual gather data from a variety of sources to create an accurate picture of where he or she is located within a particular academic subject area. MARi then applies a combination and information engineering, complex data modeling, and big data analytics to create an individualized map for each student. " See also their Twitter account. Related: our Learning and Performance Support Systems.
Just How Good Is 'To Kill a Mockingbird'?
I read To Kill a Mockingbird many years ago, when I was still young, and no number of reviews for or against will alter my own appreciation of the work (I've never seen the movie, but that's OK). With the discovery and publication of Harper Lee's new lost book in the midst of a summer of discontent it seems appropriate to revisit the original. This review in The New Republic is a good venue. And the book poses a question relevant today: how do we find justice when the institutions of justice fail? It can be an act of courage to work within the system to seek change, but at the same time, it can change you, so that you accept as inevitable the indefensible. "Tom Robinson’s dooming by the jury should have shredded the very fabric of Atticus Finch. Where are the spiritual upheavals of this man?"
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